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Keywords:

  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • emotional numbing

Abstract

Litz et al. (1997), theorizing that emotional numbing (EN) is the result of emotional depletion caused by chronic hyperarousal, demonstrated that a cluster of hyperarousal symptoms was a robust predictor of EN symptoms. In the present study, these findings were replicated and extended in two multiple regression analyses of data from a large, multisite investigation (T. M. Keane et al., 1998) of psychophysiological responding by male combat veterans. The arousal (D) cluster of symptoms was again the most robust predictor of EN symptoms, whereas physiological indices of arousal and reactivity accounted for negligible amounts of variance in both regression equations. These findings underscore the possible link between disturbances related to arousal and the capacity of traumatized individuals to express and experience pleasant feelings.